Binders, Files and the Battle of the Sexes

I am passionate about finances. It is one of the reason’s I am so excited about writing this blog. I love helping people and problem solving in their finances. I have core beliefs that anchor me, and it is such a joyful thing to see hope spark in someone who has had none. There is always hope. That being said, I have been married to my amazing husband for almost nine years and have managed our finances that whole time. Now, with finances being one of my passions and not necessarily Matt’s, it would be very easy for me to just control everything and leave him out. However, I am also passionate about communication and agreement, so we talk about everything. I mean, everything. Matt knows everything that is going on in our finances and we always come into agreement before changing our budget, or major purchases. It has made finances a very peaceful issue in our marriage. We definitely still have challenges, but we tend to face them together, and they are not often between us.

I have also been in charge of filing our bills, and statements, and important documents for the last eight years, and let me tell you, I really don’t like filing. Matt and I have both had jobs filing for a living, and the feeling is definitely mutual. Our filing cabinet used to be in our closet and it was so miserable to sit in that closet for hours filing. The pile just got higher and higher. I finally knew that something had to change, so we bought portable plastic filing tubs ($12 at Walmart). I could now file in the living room. My life was changed, but somehow I quickly regressed back into the piles. It was easier, portable, but still not fun. But then one of my dear friends introduced me to the Finance Binder ($4 at Office Depot or Walmart for a 3″) and all of a sudden my filing pile completely disappeared. I still have the filing tubs in which I effortlessly archive the stuff from my binder when it gets too full. I then empty my files after I file my taxes into filing boxes which I store in the attic. It would also be just as easy to label the binder with the months and years, buy a new binder and then file the entire old binder… however, I get attached to my binders.

So here is the funny part. I was telling my husband last night that I am going to recommend binders as the answer to all your filing ails and he says, “Real men don’t do binders, they’ll want a filing cabinet.” So for the next step, men, feel free to stick with a manly filing cabinet if its working for you, but if its not, may I suggest a binder. I bought cheap dividers and labeled them with all of my bills. I also bought divider folders for receipts that I need to keep like for my husband’s business, and then I decorated the outside. It made bills seem fun. I just slid in sheets of scrap booking paper and the binder was transformed. So men, feel free to buy some camo paper, or just get a large solid black binder. I would also suggest a three-ring hole punch to make your life even easier. All in all, under a $20 investment for an amazing plan to change your life. So that’s it for today. Go buy a finance binder or maybe a plastic filing tub if you just feel too emasculated by a binder. Or if you already have an amazing filing system or just love to file, then that is fantastic. But for the rest of us…

OK, so you are now sitting with a pile of organized bills, and are facing going and buying a binder or filing tub and are seriously feeling the urge to crawl back into ignorance, and find some way to escape. It’s not fear that’s controlling you right now, but you just feel overwhelmed. This is why getting a system of organization is so important. Once you get a system of organization going that works for you, you will never have to return to this place again. So push through, go buy a binder, some dividers, and a three-ring hole punch… and let me warn you, don’t let perfectionism take over here. You do not need to type out the labels, just hand write them. You can type them out later if the handwriting drives you crazy, but you don’t want to minor on the little things, you just have to get it started. Trust me, you will never wonder where a bill is again, taxes will be so much easier, and your whole financial life is going to come into order. That is, if you are man enough to handle a binder.